Date Night for Seniors…with an Unexpected Twist

January in Wisconsin was unusually cold, courtesy of the Polar Vortex. One Friday, when temps had dipped well below zero, my hubby and I were contemplating whether or not we’d cancel our weekly date night. Since we had a caregiver for mom lined up (who was willing to brave the horrible weather), we decided to go ahead with it, but not travel too far from home. Our evening out would include dinner out at a nearby restaurant that we enjoy, then we would do a little grocery shopping (yes, we’re old enough that we sometimes grocery shop on our date nights).

Me and my guy – photo courtesy of our dear friend Don Yantis

After all that senior excitement, we decided to go home and relax while watching a few episodes of one of our favorite whodunit detective shows. Momma hadn’t been feeling well and was not in the best of spirits all day. Expecting to find her in bed and not feeling very social, I smiled when we walked in the door and saw her seated at the kitchen table working a puzzle with her amazing caregiver. Wayne went upstairs to queue up our show so we could hunker down for the evening watching another episode of Psych.

Momma really enjoys her weekly time with Kathryn, always lighting up when she sees her. Kathryn has a special way about her and easily keeps mom engaged with puzzles, coloring, or looking through picture books together. Honestly, I think Kathryn is better at keeping Momma happily engaged than I am.

On this particular night, Momma was engaged, but seemed just a bit frustrated with placing the puzzle pieces. After putting the last grocery item away, I walked past the kitchen table to head upstairs for movie time and noticed mom was starting to slump forward in her chair (Kathryn had noticed too). The color in Momma’s face drained, her hands and arms were tremoring, eyes were fixed, pupils dilated, and she was making sounds, but I could not detect any words. I recognized it as an episode of vasovagal syncope (VVS) much like the one mom had experienced about a month ago.

Briefly, VVS is a fainting episode which happens when the blood pressure takes a nose-dive, usually during periods of agitation, stress or anxiety. Momma had not had a good day and was physically worn out by stomach pain from persnickety bowels and back and forth trips to the bathroom. Shortly before this episode, she had mentioned not feeling well and that she had to go to the bathroom again. Next thing we knew, she was slumped in a classic VVS faint. Episodes of this nature are generally not serious and last a minute or less. I knelt next to her, supporting her with a little sideways hug so she wouldn’t slump to the floor. Unless you see it coming early and can get the individual lying down and feet elevated above the heart, there’s really not a whole lot you can do to circumvent an episode of VVS once it has begun. I decided to pray out loud for mom and had no sooner said ‘Amen’ when she began to stir in recovery.

The rest of the evening is a bit of a blur, but I remember being thankful that Kathryn was there. In addition to the symptoms I already mentioned, Momma loses control of her bladder and bowel during these episodes. Kathryn was so very helpful in getting Momma cleaned up and ready for bed. Once mom was comfy in her bed, Kathryn sat with mom in her bedroom and shooed me off to join Wayne for what was left of our movie night.

I sensed that life as we knew it was taking yet another detour, the path ahead uncertain, and most likely containing many twists and turns. How grateful I am to have the calm assurance that Someone is traveling with us, leading each and every step of the way.

Five Minute Friday: Better

Fridays are date-night at our house. I always look forward to this weekly time away from the responsibilities of taking care of my mom, who has Alzheimer’s. We are so blessed to have a wonderful caregiver who spends time with Momma while we’re away. Tonight, courtesy of a generous gift card, we dined at a fancier-than-usual restaurant called Tornado. Well, the place wasn’t that fancy, but the food, service and menu prices were.

Last Friday night we were enjoying a dinner together at a restaurant that we were giving a second chance. While we dined, Wayne asked me if I had any goals for the new year. It was a good question and a great conversation starter. I’m not very good at making resolutions, and even worse at keeping them, but I had given  a little thought to some goals I would like to achieve. There were several areas where I wanted to do life better this year than last.

I didn’t mention the one thing that is always on my list of resolutions or goals – losing weight. I’ve taken steps in the right direction, but it still somehow eludes me. I’m going to still keep trying but, if I’ve learned anything in my years of chasing after that goal, it that there’s more to a better life than being the perfect weight.

Part way through my last decade of life, I realized that I like to write. I shared with my hubby that this year I want to get better at writing and be more intentional in the time I spend doing so. I have the aspiration of writing a book some day, but don’t have much of a plan for getting there.

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I want to be a better gardener. In addition to spending more time with my hobby of cultivating a beautiful flower garden, I want to begin adding some nutritious veggies to my garden in 2019. Not enough that I would have to commit to canning or freezing, but enough to enjoy some fresh nutrition during the growing season.

I want to be a better grandmother. I feel as though my responsibilities in caring for my mother have sidelined (or at least diminished) my opportunities to spend time with my grand-blessings. I wanted us to be more intentional about carving out time for them. I’m thankful that Wayne has a similar goal this year, as this will be much easier to accomplish if we are like-minded in this endeavor.

My heart’s desire is to be a better student of God’s Word. Not just a daily devotional snacker, as has been my habit while caring for my mom, but an endeavor toward a deeper, life-changing study of God’s Word. I plan to review a favorite epistle – James), comparing it with the early chapters of Proverbs. I’ve discovered that James borrowed much from that book in his writing. I’m also going to delve into a book I have read, but never studied – Hosea. May the Lord give me a better understanding of His precious Word.


I know! I know! I’m late again! This slightly tardy post was brought to you courtesy of Kate Motaung’s blog Five Minute Friday and the word “better.” Wanna-be writers like me set the timer for five minutes and then free write on the posted word of the week. I think I wrote for about five minutes, but switched to a different Word Press editor (something about boxes or blocks). I sort of like it…but there is a definite formatting learning curve in it for me where it comes to adding pictures.

Six on Saturday: Snowy Morning

Like last week, we awoke again this morning to a thin layer of fresh snow covering the yard – and a promise of more to come. In between snowfalls, we had two days where the temps hovered near 40 degrees. I managed to get those daffodil and tulip bulbs in the ground, but had to tuck them in close to the house where the ground was warmer.

The sunshine lured me outdoors this afternoon while Momma took a little catnap. Drinking in the fresh, clean air, I took a little stroll through the yard and snapped a few photos of things that caught my eye.

My garden bench, beneath the Tulip Trees. 

Do you think this garden bench would look pretty painted a grape-y shade of purple? I’m toying with the idea. Or should I leave it to weather as is? What say ye?

The garden ladder and bird houses

Hubby found this discarded ladder a couple of summers ago and painted it a lovely shade of green to serve as a trellis and whimsical piece of yard art with my painted bird houses perched on top. The garden ladder supports a clematis vine I snagged from my mother’s garden before I sold her Milwaukee home. I’m so glad that I was able to dig a few of her pretty flowers to make the move with her. I’m not entirely sure what pruning type this clematis is, but decided to take a chance and prune it back today to make the area look tidy. My mom can see it from her usual spot at the kitchen table and often comments about how the gardener really should clean that up.

The crab apple tree has held many a grandchild in its branches. 

Hubby added the rope to assist little climbers after he cut off one of the lower branches they used to hoist themselves up into the crab apple tree. One of my favorite memories is of my granddaughter Violet sitting up there perched as high as she dared singing praises to Jesus and thanking God for this tree to climb.

A view from the crab apple tree to the locust tree.

Friday night is date night at our house. We pay a caregiver to come and hang out with my sweet Momma while we go out to dinner, see a movie, or do some shopping. Last night we found ourselves at Menard’s where we replenished our birdseed for our feathered friends. I also replaced my worn out garden gloves with some brand new hot-pink ones…hopefully won’t lose them next year.

My garden apron hangs on a hook in the 3-season porch waiting for the 4th season to pass. Who knows? Perhaps there will be a sunny winter day or two to play in the yard.


It has been a crazy week here. Short on sleep most nights and long on trying to keep mom awake and occupied during the daytime when she’d really rather sleep. Sometimes I’m just so tired that I give in and let her nap. Today is one of the days when I did my best to keep her awake, thus putting off my contribution to Six on Saturday. It’s still Saturday and here it is.

If you would like to join in with this fun weekly meme started over at The Propagator, take a look here.